We talked with Maria to tell her story about what life is like in Italy, a country that has been hit significantly by the Coronavirus crisis. She explains the thoughts that run through her head, what her days are like, and how she is maintaining her training indoors. It has also been a time for her to discover and devote time to off-bike passions, which she explains below.
Unfortunately, Italy was one of the first countries to be affected by the Coronavirus. From what I observed in my town, initially people did not realise how big the problem that Italy was facing actually was. I’d read in the news that, day by day, the cases were increasing, and with that, also the restrictions. Shops closed down, people started to become more and more afraid for their loved ones, and then there came the ban on leaving the house. The streets and cities became deserted. It was something I had never seen before, and honestly, a sight that I never even imagined I would ever encounter.
I don’t deny that I’m very worried. There’s a mix of thoughts in my head ranging from the imperative to take care of the health of those who are most vulnerable, to the safety of my loved ones like my parents. As a professional rider, I also have to ask myself the questions, which event am I training for next, what are my new goals for the season, how long will we have to maintain fitness by riding indoors, what will happen to the 2020 season at all? And then, the question in the back of my mind is, how will the world be when this is eventually all over.
At the moment, it’s important that everyone respects the new rules and restrictions, and that’s how we’ll get out of this situation in the most effective way. Now is not the time to think of yourself, but of others. At times, when I go to the grocery store, I feel like I’m doing something forbidden. There are long rows of people outside, the mood is sometimes downtrodden, people keep their distance from one another, and nobody speaks. My grandmother told me that it seems to have returned to the wartime days, when people were lining up for food, but at least they were still talking to each other. It’s a confronting analogy.
In terms of my daily routine, I haven’t been allowed to train outside for quite some time. So instead, I’ve been training indoors every day, and also continuing to work out at home. It’s certainly different to my normal training regime, but for the near foreseeable future, it’s the only option I have to keep riding my bike. I’ve also been able to devote my time to other passions, like cooking and painting. I think these activities give me a psychological boost that would otherwise be missing. And this, in turn, makes it easier to continue training under these new and testing conditions.
Maria’s Day in Photos
Maria sets aside time to maintain her fitness during the lockdowns, and works out most days in her living room. It can sometimes be difficult to maintain the motivation to do these exercises, but for Maria, it’s an aspect of training that she enjoys. It’s just done in a different setting now, at home.
The time she has to spend indoors has also lent itself to pursuing her other passions, which she tells us are painting and cooking. It’s important for mental wellbeing to invest time in these other pursuits, particularly given how isolating the lockdown experience can be for some.
After those indoor training sessions, Maria knows how to re-fuel herself, and finds time for cooking tasty and healthy foods in her kitchen, another one of her passions apart from painting.
At the time of writing this article, Italy still allows people to go outside to walk their dogs. This is one of the only opportunities that Maria has to re-enter the outside world. For the foreseeable future, it won’t be on two wheels.